Managing a variable income

Shake-Up Your Finances This New Year

Now that 2017 is just around the corner, it's a good time to review your financial situation and give things a good shake-up.  Your accountant will be able to help you with financial planning, but here are some tips and ideas to get you started.  Remember to make notes as you go along, and prioritise those items which are costing you the most money each month.   

Clearing debts

Credit card debt is never a good thing.  Annual percentage rates (APRs) are generally charged at around 18% of your balance or even higher, depending upon your card issuer and this can soon mount up if you don't settle your balance at the end of each month.

The good news is that many credit card companies usually offer a bonanza of new deals each New Year, all designed to save you money and persuade you to switch your allegiances from your current lender.   Some offer 0% interest on any debt transferred from another provider as a real deal sweetener. 

Improve your credit score

With so much market competition and so many lenders vying for your business it's frustrating not to be able to take advantage of what's on offer because you have a poor credit score.

Your credit score is compiled by any company that you have had a credit agreement with, currently or in the past.  This includes mobile phone contracts.  Your credit score is then held by several credit reference agencies.  You are perfectly entitled to know what your score is and you can order a copy of your credit report online for a small charge.

If you have a low credit score, make a resolution to improve it this year.  Your accountant will be able to give you more advice on steps you can take to improve your credit score.

Make large purchases more efficiently

So you aren't in debt and you have an excellent credit score, but if you have any large purchases planned for the New Year, it's really worth putting the cost onto the right kind of credit card, even if you have the cash to spend!

Why?  Well, you will receive equal protection from both the credit card provider and the seller if your purchase is subsequently stolen, lost or damaged, even if the company you bought it from goes bust.  If you go for the right credit card, you can also spread the cost of your purchase, as you will not be paying interest for up to 18 months. 

Reward yourself

Just because you have no debts and are right on top of your finances, you can still benefit from the right credit card deal.

There are some brilliant cash-back and reward deals available and it is well worth taking advantage of them, even if you don't really need a credit card and are able to pay off the balance at the end of each month. 

In conclusion

Take advantage of the forthcoming New Year as motivation to get your finances in order.  Follow the tips above and remember to discuss your financial situation in more depth with your accountant to get 2017 off to a flying financial start.